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2. Objects as Subjects: Agency and Performativity in Rituals

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1. Title Title of document 2. Objects as Subjects: Agency and Performativity in Rituals - The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Anne-Christine Hornborg; Lund University, Sweden; Sweden
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religious Studies
4. Subject Keyword(s) Ritual objects; animism; agency; performativity; relational epistemology
5. Subject Subject classification Philosophy; Social Theory; Anthropology
6. Description Abstract In ritual theory, objects have mostly been discussed in terms of symbols and interpretations. However, material objects that are employed in rituals are not merely passive carriers of attached cultural meanings. In this article, I will discuss how objects not only become animated in rituals but as such are also ascribed agency, whereby they further animate the ritual field. As ritual agents they achieve important performative functions in the field of transformations. The smoke of burning sage in a ritual setting is not everyday smoke but sacred, and it not only symbolizes a purification process for the participants, but – as a performative agent – it “actually” cleanses them of bad spirits. In attributing objects personhood and agency, it is thus more useful to discuss the phenomenology of animism and ritual objects as forms of relational epistemology than as cases of epistemological fallacies indicating a childish or “primitive” worldview.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 15-Dec-2016
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.30125
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd